As you’ve made it this far you’ve probably decided that you need a professional website designer to create your amazing new website (or redesign your existing site). But, if you’re still in the research phase you may be considering a self-builder (such as Wix). Platforms like this, that enable you to create a website yourself do have their place, but if you’re serious about creating the right impression, then please read this page in full before you make your final decision.
If you’re just starting out, have a shoe-string budget, and simply need a presence online that you can direct people to (or a web address to place on your shiny new business cards) then a self-build site like Wix may work well for you in the short-term.
It’s free to use*
Wix has a free version. It is missing some of the features and functionality of the full version but if funds are tight, the option is there. It’s worth knowing that this isn’t without its drawbacks. This includes adverts on your website, and have a ‘ix’ branded domain name. Most other comparable services will have the same drawbacks.
It requires no software.
As long as you have a computer, an internet connection, and time to learn, you can build your own website without purchasing any software. The only exception to this will be if you require images to be edited.
It’s easy to create a simple but professional looking website.
You can use a pre-designed template with a drag and drop editor to create your website. You just change the colours to your liking and add your own content (Images, text, videos, etc.).
This is just one of the disadvantages of using a self-build website service for your website.
Sounds Great Doesn't it?
A free professional looking website that’s easy to make. That sounds amazing!
So why are professional website designers more in demand than ever before?
Self-build services like this all have their limitations. Even if those limitations aren’t a concern right now, you’ll find that as your business grows and you want to do more, you may run into problems.
You see, to transform a task as complex as website design into a system that anybody can perform with little to no learning curve means (almost by definition) that you must limit what can be achieved. If too many options are provided it becomes too complex for many to use, you’ll discourage your user-base, and potential customers will look elsewhere.
So while some of these platforms are excellent at what they do, if at any stage you’re likely to need more than a simple web design with simple function then you’re going to need a professional website designer.
Advantages of a Professional Web Designer
In most cases, the main reason for having a website is to provide value to your business. If you’re selling online this will likely be in the form of online sales. If you’re trying to drive leads then you may need your visitors to pick up the phone. If you want customers to come and visit your premises (restaurant website for example) then you’ll want your site to convince them to do so (or make a booking).
A good* professional website designer knows this!
You probably know your own business better than anyone. But do you know how best to convey your message to your website visitors?
A good web designer understands visitor behaviour, and how to maximise the chances of getting each visitor to take the desired action.
Be careful. unfortunately, there are plenty of professional website designers who don’t (including a number of well-known large companies – But let’s not sling mud). We’ve personally re-built websites from scratch because a previous designer didn’t know how to factor in good user experience.
If you can please your visitor and hold their attention (without annoying them) then you have a much better chance of conveying your message or call to action before they leave the page. If you can get that far then that’s half the battle won. Once you have their attention you now have the opportunity to get that conversion (be it a sale, email sign-up, booking, phone call, etc).
This is where you benefit from having a professional website designer. The value of your web designer isn’t in their knowledge of coding or programming in multiple languages (at least in most cases). In fact, many great web designers know little about coding.
No, the value comes from their knowledge of building a site that converts your visitors and therefore provides value to your business.
Once you have this, you have far more than a presence on the world wide web. You have a tool that works for your business and increases revenue.
But It Doesn't Stop There
What about the techy stuff?
Your web design and layout is one thing. But what about the technical side. Did you know that you could have 2 identical looking websites but one could be favoured in Google far more than the other?
This is because the way your website is built is extremely important. Search engines like Google can read text fairly well and they’re pretty good at understanding your content. But, using the right site structure and adding things like structured data will make a huge difference to your organic rankings (how much traffic the search engines send your way).
Here’s an example.
Let’s say that you publish your opening hours on your website as plain text (just as you would in a word processor). A search engine may struggle to figure out what that text actually relates to.
Using something called structured data, you can place your opening hours within this code. This will tell Google “Yes”, these are my opening hours. There are all kinds of structured data that can be added to your text that will tell search engines exactly what it’s about). Now, when somebody searches your business online they will probably see your opening hours, your contact details and other useful information before they even click through to your site. Let that sink in.
If all this information is displayed about your business before they even visit your website, that gives you more advertising space on the search page. It also builds trust and authority. You could receive calls to your business without the searcher even having to visit your site.
Self-build website services either don’t have this functionality or if they do, you still need to know what code to add (and where) to make it work. So, unless you hire a professional to do this for you (which kinda defeats the object of doing it yourself) then you simply can’t take advantage of it.
If you were paying attention (don’t worry, we all like to skim read occasionally) you may have noticed the phrase ‘site structure‘ in the section above. This has nothing to do with structured data but could make a huge difference to how your website is built and how it performs.
Your website structure is about how all the pages of your website link together. Most websites should be built with a good ‘silo‘ based website structure. There are different types of silo’s and your needs will depend upon the type of website you have and how you wish to use it.
Here at WDM, we use a topical website structure. This means that every core page fits into a hierarchy of topics.
Under the category “Web Design”, we have only web design-related information. We also have sub-categories. For example, one of those is “Ecommerce Website Design”. Under this category, we’ll only show information related to Ecommerce design.
With a topical site structure, the information provided becomes more specific as you get further into the categories. So our real example above would look something like this:
Home > Web Design, Ecommerce > Ecommerce Web Design Tips
Another example would be location-based:
Home > Web Design > Suffolk > Bury St Edmunds
There is more that goes into this (such as deep-linking methods) but by structuring your website within a logical framework you can provide the visitor with the precise information they are looking for.
In addition to this, you make it far easier for search engines to see topical relevance. For this, you will be rewarded with more visibility in organic results.
Made Up Your Mind?
Let WDM Be YOUR Professional Website Designer
I hope we’ve managed to convince you of the benefits of hiring a web designer to add value to your business and increase profits long-term. If so, we’d love it if you’d consider choosing us for your project.
Tell us all about it here…